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The Assembly In Review 242

codetalker writes: "Assembly 2001 ended on August 6th and it seems that the demo scene hasn't died yet. Head on over to their ftp and download the latest marvels from Helsinki's massive annual programming and digital art/music competition. Wired also has a couple articles on the subject here(1), here(2) and here(3)."
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Hacking And Demo-Scene Gatherings, Done And Coming

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  • I remember when I used to follow the demoscene back in 1992 or so. At the time it was becoming clear that there was a stifling lack of creativity. Some of the tech was nice, but there were endless, endless, painfully long shots of tunnels with plasma on the walls, and rotating geometric shapes. Earlier this year, when I was bored, I went and downloaded some of the most highly reccommended demos. Bleh. Except for using 3D hardware now, nothing has changed. It's like looking back on MAD magazine when you're 20 and realizing "Wow, was this magazine always this unfunny?"

    The technology side of demos has gotten much less impressive because every game already includes flashy 3D coding. only they're more impressive because of the _game_ side of things. Goofy rendering tricks just don't cut it any more. But there doesn't seem to be anything to demos other than techology--and techno music :)
    • Another whining lamer who probably can't do anything creative himself. Why don't you write your own demo so we can see what you'd like to see from us who do the stuff? We would very much like to see it. Honestly! Hint, we do it for fun and a little competition. It's also nice to make progress on something. Why you even bother watching demos when you don't like them in the first place? Every scener knows demos are based on the same principles - the pixel, the line, the polygon. These can be generated in a few different methods - by drawing, by raytracing, by creating a 3D world or object and so on. That's why demos don't differ that much from one to another. It's only natural but you don't seem to understand it. You want a freak show from outerspace. You give that to us, please. I don't get people like you who have nothing else to say but complain. I wonder what you're doing here. Been there since mid 80's, don't reply.
  • I'm softwave, 22 years old, Belgian and involved in the demo scene since approx. 1992. I'd just like to say thanks to all you guys for still showing some interest in the demoscene. I've read quite a few replies on the original article which made me get a warm feeling inside. It feels so good to hear from people that they share the same interest. You made me shed a tear... **sob** Thanks :,-)
  • Damn, I can't believe groups like Fairlight and Haujobb are still around. These groups have more staying power than most software companies(and more talent, too)

    D

    • Ya, Fairlight releases game iso's in the warez scene. Pretty much the #1 Game ISO releaser in the warez scene. I know many Fairlight people. Although im sure they are different people than are in the demo division.
  • I've been participating in a demo that became #5 its class at MK2k-1. It was a PC-demo a friend of mine wrote with fpc and I made the sound on my Amiga. I has been real fun!
    I can only recommend watching the c64 and Amiga demos too, with a fast box and a good emulator they should run in about realtime (although, the originals sound much better). When you really know what good coders can get out of such "old" machines, you really wonder why our GHz-GForce-512MB RAM boxes are so dog slow.
  • You know, I've been out of the scene for awhile now, but I recently discovered Nectarine [scenemusic.net]. It's streaming demoscene music radio, so for all of you who need your oldschool fix (or who simply want to find out what we've been listening to all this time) check it out. it features a nice requesting system which is lightyears ahead of any other shoutcast station I've used.
    -Darius (Rayn) / Outworld
  • by Late ( 8213 ) on Friday August 10, 2001 @04:28AM (#2120274) Homepage


    We did an almost 80 hour television broadcast from Assembly for the second year running. Somehow posting it to Slashdot slipped my mind this year. On the other hand Soneras servers would have been hopelessly Slashdotted :)


    Quite a few clips of our material are available for download at www.assemblytv.net [assemblytv.net] and we'll try to get more posted in the next few weeks. Unfortunately there isn't as much material in English as one could hope for.



    I was made next years editor-in-chief for demoscene related programs yesterday, so I'll try to get all our scene material done in English for next year if we manage to gather equipment and funding for a third full scale production.



    If everything does go well, I'll really really try to post to Slashdot next time ;)

  • by friday2k ( 205692 ) on Friday August 10, 2001 @02:42AM (#2124069)
    Dear Demo Fellows!
    Some of you might remember the famous first Demo Maker by TRSI for the Amiga, enabling many people that did not have the skills and/or time to learn coding to make their own Demos on the Amiga. Some of you might also remember the PC Version of it. It was published by Data Becker in those famous 90s. The Author, Andreas Schwaab, died about 6 weeks ago after a long sickness. I hope that you have some good memories of him and his work. I will for sure miss a very good friend!
  • by hkon ( 46756 ) on Friday August 10, 2001 @03:01AM (#2124088) Homepage
    Isn't it just a tad ironic that these people can do things with amigas and peecees that no sane person would ever require of them, but can't make a web page that validates [w3.org]
  • by phutureboy ( 70690 ) on Friday August 10, 2001 @03:02AM (#2124089) Homepage
    It seems to me that demo crews would be more interested in writing for Linux than they are. It just seems like the two cultures would mesh well, but apparently they haven't very much.

    Why are most of the demos these days for Windows? Is it a cultural thing, or a technical thing? Are there multimedia limitations under Linux that are not addressed by SDL, etc?

    Sigh. I used to run a BBS dedicated to Amiga demos. The stuff back then was some amazing shit. I've still never seen anything on a PC that impressed me as much. It would be cool if a free OS someday became the demo platform of choice.
    • For the same reasons games aren't ported to *nix. Tronster and I ported our demo (3rd place at COMA2) to Linux, and only one person has downloaded that version in 3+ months -- a friend of mine who I asked to take a look at it and make sure it compiles for me.

      http://www.mobydisk.com/mobyware/
    • Back in the day, demos were attached to cracked games advertising the cracker/coder's skill. Eventually they got so big that they split from the cracking scene and were made just for the heck of it. Since all of the games were made mostly for pc and amiga, thats where the demos were. During any competition, like assembly, there is always a presentation machine with set specs that are told to all the groups. As is traditional, the box was usually a dos one. More recently a windows box with a certain 3d card. If the game industry were to suddenly switch to linux, thats were most of the newer demos would start popping up.
    • It seems to me that demo crews would be more interested in writing for Linux than they are. It just seems like the two cultures would mesh well, but apparently they haven't very much.

      There are quite a few - lnxscene.org [lnxscene.org]

      There are a number of reasons why it's not so as convenient as you might think to program in Linux.

      1) Have you ever set up OpenGL in Linux? I mean REAL hardware accelerated GL, not this mini-driver stuff? It can be a painful/impossible experience depending on your graphics card. With windows, it's just a matter of plunking down your vendor-supported video drivers.

      2) The simple graphics stuff can be VERY cpu intensive in X11. Blitting a bitmap to the screen requires TWO long memcpy's. X11 is horrible for this stuff. That's why Windows had fast movie players (Remember Quicktime for Win3.1?) before X - it was possible to access the hardware directly.

      3) For reasons unclear to me, great assembly programmers seem affixed to DOS + derivatives. I think they all grew up in a world (OS) that allowed the assembler to have free range over the address space, able to poke and prod the hardware in ways that sane programmers such as me might consider obscene ;)

      4) If you want to show your stuff off, it's easier if you write for the more common (w32) platform

  • I have to say I was very dissapointed of the demos at Assembly. You might wanna check out Future Crew's 2nd Reality from -93 Assembly. It run smoothly on my 386-33 and the 3d-city in the end of the demo was almost similar to the one in the best PC-demo at Asm'2001. And worst of all Amiga demo won the whole democombo (even PC-demos). What does this tell you? To me it says these kids who never saw operating systems before Windows(tm) don't know anything about optimizing code.
    Has Windows(tm) made people so lazy they don't even want to try lower level coding? Is it so easy to write drawTextureFilledObject() via D3D interface that you don't wanna try to optimize the method? Is it the end of era of real coders?
    • Probably.
  • wow.. everyone is talking about second reality... hell. why in my day when i moved from c64/amiga to pc and started demo stuff, DCE were yet to release their dragnet demo. i remmeber sorcerors did an ASCII mode demo with pc speaker music. S!P hadnt done copper yet. Ultraforce handnt done vectorballs. i remember coldcuts. hgmm about 88/89 or so.. wow its going back.... bbs swapping demos.. no imphobia diskmag yet (iirc...).. the eddie demo... no cronologia (wow that blew me away! and the huge intro 60mionute scroller....)

    "loading and decrunching..."

    second reality... that was a different era...

  • Actually, in Sweden there has been a radioshow for over a year that plays scene, game and console-music.

    The radioshow is called Syntax Error, named after the old good c64 error message :)

    Check out the Syntax Error [ko2000.nu] webpage (only in Swedish), all the broadcasted shows can also be downloaded here in mp3 format.
  • by Otis_INF ( 130595 ) on Friday August 10, 2001 @03:41AM (#2136594) Homepage
    If you wonder how the winning demo will look like and you only have an old fart amiga500, dual boot in your dusty windows (you know, that OS you use to play that one game) and download WinUAE (a href="http://www.codepoet.com/UAE/">http://www.cod e poet.com/UAE/), get 'Amiga In A Box' (http://www.codepoet.com/UAE/ [codepoet.com]), then grab some kickstart rom from a friendly source (search for 'kick31.rom' on google) and you're ready to go! unpack the .lha archive in a directory and add it as a harddrive to WinUAE, and start it. A friendly amigaOS shell will welcome you.

    After the rush and warm feelings you got inside by re-facing this screen of joy from the old days, go to the harddrive you assigned the lapsuus dir to (f.e. dh3:) and run the demo. Enjoy :)

  • by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Thursday August 09, 2001 @10:16PM (#2169955) Journal
    As 5,000 kids gathering in Finland on Thursday will attest, the European demo scene is alive and kicking.

    Only 5,000? That's a little small for a convention...

    There's no alcohol and few girls.

    Oh, I see why...

    Dancin Santa
  • Scene.org (Score:3, Interesting)

    by robbyjo ( 315601 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @10:26PM (#2169983) Homepage

    If you like those eye-candy demos, you can download from this repository at: www.scene.org [scene.org] Browse their archive!

    They have all sort of demo collections from various groups and various fests. Cool! Gigs of download. Don't forget to check out the Java demos too. It will make you wonder how can they make such a cool (and very fast) demo like that in Java.

    • It will make you wonder how can they make such a cool (and very fast) demo like that in Java.

      Actually, it makes me wonder how Java can slow down a computer so much it's considered impressive when you can almost match the stuff they did back in 1993.

      All right, I'm done trolling for now...

      • Re:Scene.org (Score:2, Informative)

        by spiny ( 87740 )
        yeah, but when it's done well, it can really work - check out equinox's 'old school'java demos, fantatstic stuf:
        http://equinox.planet-d.net/ [planet-d.net]

        also don't forget hornet.org - still loads of stuff there thats not yet on scene.org

        cheers, spiny

        torment.atari.org

  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @10:44PM (#2170027) Homepage Journal
    Lnxscene [lnxscene.org] for Linux demos. I am not sure if any of these demos are from Assembly.

    Calodox Demology Exchange [calodox.org] for user reviews. You can submit your own reviews. This is for PC demos (Windows and DOS).

    Amidemos [planet-d.net] for Amiga Demos in AVI video format since most of don't have the classic Amiga computers and emulators don'twork well. Check out 05.08.2001: Assembly 2001 winner demo Lapsuus now online ...

    scene.org [scene.org] -- I believe these are for all systems beside PC and Amiga.

  • For the PC platform. If you still haven't seen it, then go to Hornet.org [hornet.org] and search Second Reality to download the two demo files (don't need the S3M music files). Obviously, you will want to use MS-DOS boot and configure your EMM386 for EMS (if I remember correctly).

    In my opinion and others, this is still the best PC demo of all. Even the music was awesome at its time. I ran it on my 486DX2/66 and dang it was cool :). You can easily find a better quality MP3 of the song.

    • I don't know, the Unreal demo (1993) has always been my favorite. I think it has more to do with the fact that it was the first demo that ever really blew me away.

      Funny enough.. at 700Mhz and 192M, I still had to make a boot disk to watch the demo :) Ahhhh.. boot disks.. DOS 5.0... memmaker... *sigh*
    • For those of you still suffering on a modem connection, you can buy large collections of these demos (ostensibly legally, because they say they asked all demo writers' permissions first) from any reseller of old Walnut Creek stuff (am I right that Walnut Creek went down?). Look for Hornet Underground vols 1 and 2, which feature the best (and not so best) of Hornet.org.

      I still have a shrine to Second Reality. My 486DX2, with 4mb, and a 1mb Cirrus Logic graphics card. Ahh, the old days....
    • After you've watched the original you should definitely see the C64 version of Second Reality (I'm not kidding) to help put things back into perspective. 1MHz/64kB should be enough for everyone. You can download it at ftp://ftp.scene.org/pub/parties/1997/theparty97/c6 4/smash_secondreality_d64.zip [scene.org] and it should work on any good C64 emulator. At least Vice [cmu.edu] works just fine.
    • 2nd Reality was indeed like a wakeup call for the scene. Demos got better, some of them more content (away from pure effect coding to some content). It is kind of sad that too many kids are turning their talent to destroy things (read hacking), drawing satisfaction from this. I used to be in the cracking and demo scene for many, many years, unfortunately never winning a big competition, only scoring 3rd place at The Party in Denmark once. People should remember that it was the Demo Scene innovating many of the effects that people are oh so used to in Games these days. As mentioned before, you should have a look at www.scene.org or www.theparty.dk for some more info on the good ol days. Hope the scene will continue.
      - Friday of The Coexistence (and TSI, The Damned and others)
    • Second Reality was the demo that for the first time allowed PC sceners to feel merely inferior to the Amiga sceners, rather than completely pathetic. I mean, if you want to talk about 1993, you should be talking about "Arte" by Sanity. Go on, you can even find a DivX of it at Amidemos [planet-d.net]. Arte on a 7Mhz Amiga 500 kicked the arse of Second Reality on your 486..

      Still, opinions are funny.. some Amiga sceners liked "Jesus on E"..

      If you want to see what Chaos/ex-Sanity and others have been impressing with recently, check out The Product [scene.org], from The Party 2000.. win32 64k intro, the most impressive 64k of demo I've ever seen!


    • My fave was always a thing called (IIRC) "Juice". Was a bit later than second reality, maybe about 95? Anyway, it had a load of cool stuff (including a fantastic tunnel), AMAZING music (which was perfectly synced to the visuals), and the final couple of scenes blew your mind. The last shot has a 3d matrix of spinning tex mapped objects, stretching to infinity in all dimensions, like some "detector array" or somthing in star trek. Check it out if you can make it run, was a bit of a pain IIRC.

      Oh and there was another one, forget the name, but it had "303" in the title somewhere. It was more of a live coded music video, very "raw" visuals, not a lot of 3d, but what was interesting is it advertised itself as being the first demo with full vocals in the music! Yes, in the middle of some demo party the music guy had sat there singing into his soundcard! Sounded pretty cool actually..
    • In case anyone missed this parody demo back in 1996. Search 14ndreal.zip on The Hornet Archive [hornet.org]. Here's the info:

      Sqrt(2) Reality by Future Screw
      04 Dec 1996 /demos/1996/0-9/14ndreal.zip (1455k)
      ABD96:demo:15

      Remember to have humor when you watch it since it is cheesy. :)

    • I agree Second Reality was a very good demo but the best? No way. It's the best demo only for those of us who were new to demos back then and who had never owned other computer than PC. The truth has to be said... every idea for the effects were taken from older Amiga demos, the style of the demo were taken from Amiga demos and even the style of the so highly praised music was taken from the Amiga scene. Or perhaps, those were the only styles and effects existing at the time? Sigh. The only original routine was those Gouraud shaded trees at the 3D city scene that made me go WOW when I saw the demo at the party place. Otherwise, I was just a bit surprised somebody managed to do an Amiga demo on the PC but that was it. Nothing too special. A pretty good ordinary demo of it's time.

      If you want to see some of the old Amiga demos then check Red Sector Megademo (1989) probably the best demo of the 80's. Voyage by Razor 1911 (1990) this demo has a fab soundtrack, better than Second Reality has, and some fab coding like multicolor texturemapping and fading textures, those so much used elements of today's demos. Enigma by Phenomena (1991) has sort of the same status on the Amiga that Second Reality has on PC. Some like Hardwired by Silents (1992?) a lot. World of Commodore (1992) and Arte (1993) by Sanity has the best code on Amiga 500. There's just so many excellent demos on the A500 and A1200/020... hundreds and hundreds. Demos by Virtual Dreams, Anarchy, Melon, Lemon, Spaceballs, Andromeda... a tear rolls out of my eye... oh what a time it was... go figure yourself.

      If you wanna see as good demos as this Second Reality on the 1Mhz 64k 16-restricted-use-color synth-sound COMMODORE 64 then be sure to get the three winning demos from MekkaSymposium 2001 and the Deus Ex Machina demo by Crest from The Party 2000. And don't miss Second Reality for C64 by Smash. Very nice replicate. Those blow your socks out if you know anything about the hardware and demo coding. Probably you don't know much but I don't blame you not being a freak :-) Still a nice watch.

      Use WinUAE and CCS64 or WinVICE or something. Where to get these and those demos I leave as a small quest for you to solve out :-) From many places that is.

      I suppose that was all. Breath in.
    • Definitely!

      Skaven's music still absolutely rocks.

      I still look at the "chaos clouds" sequence in 2ndreal written by wildfire (or maybe it was psi) and I still have no idea how he coded that. You figure out how they did all the other scenes, but that one sequence is still a mystery. It looks so smooth and chaotic and complex. I suspect that he is using 3 different plasma fields drawn separately on neighboring pixels in such a high resolution that your eye blends them together. That still doesn't explain how he draws each field though. It doesn't look like your usual Perlian noise, and it certainly isn't as ugly as a typical recursive "plasma" function, so how does he do it!??

      That's the beauty of demos. If you've ever tried any graphics programming before, then you appreciate how tricky it is, and you ask yourself "How did he DO that?!!".

      Tragically I can no longer hear the music for the demo because SB emulation doesn't seem to work under DOS for my Vortex2 chip - probably some conflict with my i815E chipset mobo. If anyone has suggestions on how to get that working again, I'd be really grateful to hear it.
      -OzJuggler

  • by Kiss The Sp0rk ( 447455 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @10:54PM (#2170049) Journal
    I'm glad to see the demo scene finally mentioned in an article on Slashdot. I was starting to think that Slashdot was only interested in covering topics of interest USian readers.

    The demo scene is much more important than people and Americans generally acknowledge. It is, truly, the last subculture where people code for the love of it. This explains the strength of the scene in Europe, and its nonexistence in America.

    The culture in the US leaves no room for movements like the demo scene to evolve and thrive. Coders in the US are too focused on monetary rewards or political posturing. This is unfortunate. America really needs to pay attention to the Europeans here, and learn from them.

    Europeans are driven by ideals, not greed. At the same time, they are sophisticated enought not to allow their valuable coding skills to be coopted by strident political organizations like the FSF.

    Unfortunately, America is exporting it's culture to Europe at an alarming rate. Soon, Europe may even beging to enforce American software patents. Under these circumstances, the demo scene is in a precarious postition. For example, I can forsee a day when all the skilled European coders will have been bought up by American corporations. Even worse, once software patents go into effect in the EU, it's only a matter of time before the scene is forced underground by lawsuits from American game companies. I really hope the EU doesn't let this happen, but it may be too late.

    • The demo scene is much more important than people and Americans generally acknowledge. It is, truly, the last subculture where people code for the love of it. This explains the strength of the scene in Europe, and its nonexistence in America.

      Actually, there are many people who are coding for the love of it here in the US and Canada. Just look at the modification seen for games.

      Look at the mods for games such as Quake (and its breathen), Half-Life and Unreal. Some have gone commercial, much like Remedy Entertainment went commercial and produced Max Payne. From what I understand, a lot of the people at Remedy were from the european demo scene.

      I didn't build ThreeWave Capture The Flag for Quake for money. I built it for the sheer joy of writing a fun game for people to play. Later on, it got me a job and changed my career for the better, but that was simply a perq. Even when I was employed I still continued making modifications to CTF and supporting it because it was FUN.

      I imagine Gooseman didn't make Counterstrike for monetary gain either. I'm sure he did it because its fun to make and watch people enjoy. It's the same feeling demo coders get when they watch people get wowed by the demos they make.

      So, you're wrong. There is a THRIVING community of coders and content developers who are doing it just for the fun of it here in the US and Canada. Just a slightly different focus between doing a standalone non-interactive demo or a modification of a game. People build them for exactly the same reasons.

      • I remember that demos were the reason I started coding and the reason I still code is cause I litteraly get a buzz out of it. There is nothing more satisfying than having your own creation spinning and pulsing on the screen in realtime, pushing your hardware to the limit and knowing that the 3d object on your screen is something inifitely more substantial and real than a database. It's instant gratification, and when others see it and marvel, it is something to be proud of. I can't imagine getting excited about some sort of finance package, but I vividly remember that the first time I got output from my raytracer it was 5 am after a long night coding and I was shouting w00t! for about an hour, jumping up and down and bouncing off of walls. Man I wish I still had as much time as I did back then.
    • Europeans are driven by ideals, not greed.

      By this you mean to say all Americans are driven by greed?

      I beg to differ. I don't consider myself particularly greedy, but I'm too busy at my job making money to pay bills that I don't have NEARLY as much time to code as I would love to.

      I have a love for coding. I have a love for staying up for days at a time living off of Tea and Cigarettes, doing nothing but wearing the letters off of the keys in front of my computer. My bills have a love for being paid on time.

      Unfortunately, my job lays outside of my interests and the two don't have much time to cross into each other. Add into that school, an attempt at a social life, and taking care of other needs, and it leaves little time to work on the mile-high stack of coding projects I would LOVE to dedicate weeks on end to.

      So, this leaves me to wonder: Are you trying to suggest that I would magically have more time to code if I moved to europe? After all, I apparently wouldn't need to work so much, since I'm not greedy.
      • Do you own a car? I probably don't need to ask. You live in the US. Over this side there are plenty of places where you really don't need that thing.


        I'm just saying that there are places where you can have sufficiently high standards of living regardless of how many tons of stuff you own and buy.


        Another example. I'm slightly neurotic person. If I lived in US, I would have to pay (or work) for a huge health insurance. Here I can be sure (at least for now) that whatever exotic disease I get caught up with, I can have the treatments I need. Even if I don't work 10h/day for a give all, take all tech firm.

        P

      • So, this leaves me to wonder: Are you trying to suggest that I would magically have more time to code if I moved to europe?

        Actually, I believe you actually *would* have more time over in europe. From what I understand Europeans do not work as long hours as americans do incl. overtime, etc, etc... Now back to your point though, yes, the other guy seems a bit silly to me, one can't generalize like that. I bet it's more due to a cultural diff rather than a money-based one... tada

    • ...but unfortunately it misses one vital aspect about the US culture vs Europe. In the US, it is true there is a lot of trash- but what shines really shines. This is true everywhere from our bizarre public education system to the wildly individual-centric sports culture (both of which I admit do get to grating on your nerves eventually).

      While you're off bellyaching about how grand the EU is and how the US is a complete greed-oriented-and-idealistically-bankrupt-society -of-unsophisticated-boors-who-leave-no-room-for-th e-demo-scene-to-thrive, I feel the need to point you to my favorite demo scene musician, Andrew Sega, formerly known as Necros [modarchive.com] of the Five Musicians [fm.org], and now the Alpha Conspiracy [alphaconspiracy.com]. I've been in love with mods ever since they were just mods, and it was only recently that I discovered that my long-favorite it-tracker Necros was an American. What can I say? His stuff is nearly always amazing, both in terms of composition and innovation. And the important aspect about this is that he isn't slavishly devoted to just one type of sound or tinny dance format as many (ahem) European trackers are.

      Peanut Gallery: whoa, tanuki- you're a little off track here, slamming on the EU and ranting about tracking instead of the full demo scene!

      tanuki_x: Wow, what a politically aware, scene-literate peanut gallery! Well, as I am more inclined toward the music scene that's what I pay the most attention to. Sorry about the apparent EU bashing, I didn't want to come across like that. I actually really like the EU. Don't forget other tracking giants like Skaven, Joegir Liljedahl [modarchive.com] (an astounding guy), and Nightbeat are all from the EU (not sure on Nightbeat, think he was...) and are all very accomplished. I was just making a point on the differences between American and European creative leaders as I have observed them.

      Peanut Gallery: Uh... right.

      Incidentally, the movements of free software, open source, and a great host of others things aren't all dominated by the FSF ("strident political organizations?"), and can hardly be dismissed as idealistically devoid. Besides... what side of the ocean does the fabled linux come from (hey, no fair saying "the internet!" ...that's not my point!)?

      Also, kudos to Slashdot for even mentioning the demo scene! I'm confident that geeks everywhere will enjoy this unrecognized genre of music (sorry demo-only guys, but as the animations die, the music stays...). To get a good start on all this brouhaha, jump on over to the Mod Archive [modarchive.com], and start sampling away!

    • by Dutchie ( 450420 ) on Friday August 10, 2001 @12:52AM (#2129364) Homepage Journal
      Hmm, an interesting opinion. Regarding the first paragraph:

      I'm glad to see the demo scene finally mentioned in an article on Slashdot. I was starting to think that Slashdot was only interested in covering topics of interest USian readers.

      If you read through the FAQ on slashdot you'll see that the FAQ clearly says that slashdot very much IS US centric. The staff is mostly American I believe, and US news is more interesting to Americans than the rest of the world.

      It is in the third paragraph however where you get just a little bit too generalizing:

      Coders in the US are too focused on monetary rewards or political posturing.

      And later:

      Europeans are driven by ideals, not greed.

      I am a european (Dutch) who lives in California. I have met a lot of highly skilled individuals out here, people that I like to hang out with not only for their technical skills, but because they're often rather pleasant people to hang out with. Before you start talking about 'greed', you must realize that life here is:

      • More expensive. California is one of those ridiculously expensive places to live.
      • More competitive.
      It's not so much 'greed' that prevails as it is 'survival'. Maybe a wolf is a greedy animal... I don't know. It survives though. When companies are given the power to work their employees over 10 hours a day and not pay them extra because they are exempt from Labor Law (sometimes I believe all of California is exempt) that does tend to shape the attitude. When everybody does it, you'd be strange and unwanted when you don't do it.

      Mind you, I have worked on both sides of the fence, so I know what I'm talking about. In Europe it's not unusual that people spend lots of time on hobbies. They have more free time. Their hobbies CAN and often DO trickle through in their work. To employees this is a good thing. To employers not always. Here in the US when you spend a bit too much time slacking, it can cost you your job IMMEDIATELY since everybody here in the high tech business gets hired 'at will'. This makes people more carefull, sometimes appearing more obsessed, or, as you wish, more 'greedy'.

      So as you see, there are some good reasons why things are the way you perceive them to be. Your labelling is somewhat inaccurate though in my opinion.

      Now, I do think that the USA has a lot to learn from some European countries. Wellbeing will beat Wellfare down the line. Really, feeling 'happy' with the little things you have counts much more than not feeling so 'happy' with your yuppy SUV because your supervisor has a bigger one. And happy people work better. And if you have a lot of unhappy people, they produce crap like Microsoft Windows.

      What you fail to mention is that Europe can also learn a LOT from the USA. And then I'm not talking about DMCA crap or corrupted buyable governments; Those exist everywhere, also in Europe, whether they get bought by the maffia in Italy or by corporations in the USA (or by tulip growers in the Netherlands). Don't forget there is a reason many things fly over from the USA and set foot in Europe. This is because some of the things as they are done here plain simple WORK better. A survival of the fittest attitude tends to make companies lean and mean and competitive with others. And no matter what fancy-smancy-socialist-touchy-feely exposure some companies in Europe may have, their bottom line is to make money, and do it better than anybody else in your business. American companies are more agressive, so they beat European companies often. However, IMHO not often on quality. This, to them, does not matter. Think about the bottom line.

      Sorry for my little rant :)

      • An excellent repost from an outstanding source.
        The line that I most take exception to:
        Europeans are driven by ideals, not greed.
        America is driven by an ideal, much more so than Europe. That ideal is not greed. The quintessential American ideal is the value of the individual and the pursuit of individual excellence. Granted, this has been much muddied and softened by time and various PC and group efforts, but the fundamental culture is based on individual liberty and individual responsibility. What does this mean for business? Hard work and excellence are rewarded. Sloth and incompetence are punished. That is why America by far the most productive nation on earth. That is also why we work too many hours, have less job security and have too little free time. Everything comes with a price, even freedom. I'll leave it to you to decide if the price is too high.
      • Maybe the original poster should have referred to the built-in greed in American society. Single workers may not be greedy, but the existing institutions rarely seem to acknowledge other motivators than monetary well being. This has created the environment where corporations and policies support competitive non-restricted society and each other.

        That "fancy-smancy-socialist-touchy-feely exposure" is just the thing that allows the whole society in whole to keep up conversation using other values than BOTTOM LINE.

        Besides, who says you (and your pals) need to live in California. Life is much cheaper just some few hundred KM from there. Maybe you would not have many of the things you enjoy now, but at least you would not starve. Maybe your current company would even allow you to work over internet.

        P

        • Maybe... <snip>... LINE.

          hehe would you believe that deep down in my heart I'm fiercely opposed to capitalism in the extreme? I think it shows through in my original post, but you may have missed it. Anyway, I agree.

          Besides, who says you (and your pals) need to live in California. Life is much cheaper just some few hundred KM from there. Maybe you would not have many of the things you enjoy now, but at least you would not starve. Maybe your current company would even allow you to work over internet.

          Well, since you speak KM, I'll assume you're European or something like it. This also shows from what you say. Ever been to California? I wish you luck living a few 100 kilometres outside of Los Angeles, hehe. There's dessert. Or is it desert? Anyway you know what I mean. Seriously, that's in many cases not an option. And although in Holland I would love to live a long way away from the cities, here.... well.... hmmm... I'm not sure if I should remark on average intelligence.. ehr... well, ever seen Jerry Springer? if so, you may know what I mean.

          And the 'allow to work over the internet'... that's a nice illusion. I'm sure one day it will work, when the whole damn generation of old management that needs to see your body to know if you're working is dead.

      • If you read through the FAQ on slashdot you'll see that the FAQ clearly says that slashdot very much IS US centric. The staff is mostly American I believe, and US news is more interesting to Americans than the rest of the world.


        Anyway it shouldn't be too hard to make new topic like 'Europe' or even mirror the site in Europe.
    • Yeah, well, at least Americans don't have their noses in the air. Hey... wait a second... a "spork" user ID? This is an obvious troll. I bet you're from the Bronx. Nice troll though.

  • 4k intros (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09, 2001 @11:04PM (#2170071)
    You know, squeezing code down to fit a 4k intro requirement sort of loses its point when the only way to see it is by downloading an 11MB DiVX..

    Sigh..it makes you miss the old days, doesn't it?
    • Methinks I know not of what you speak. I have a bucket of 4k demos (of which my favourite is Animate! by... ok, so I forgot, and I don't want to boot M$ just now...) and it runs perfectly on my 333mhz 98 box (ok, not cutting edge, but a little above the 486 DOS machine the demo expected).

      I think you'll find that a greater proportion of 4k demos work these days, than so-called megademos, because megademos load up huge sound and graphics systems which are very kludgey, whereas 4ks just poke the same old addresses that have been around since the dawn of time.

      If that was what you were referring to... :-)
      • I think you'll find that a greater proportion of 4k demos work these days, than so-called megademos, because megademos load up huge sound and graphics systems...whereas 4ks just poke the same old addresses ...

        Some of us run operating systems [microsoft.com] with actual memory protection. (ie. Anything with an NT kernel)

        Won't let rogue processes randomly poke around the address space anymore ;)

        The only win32 OS I run right now is W2k, and I couldn't get aaannny of the 4K demos to run. I got a coupla of the 64k demos to run, and all of the "megademos". (Except the ones that I couldn't extract - who the @#%$@#% uses LHA these days?!?)

        ... Okay, I give up - what does file:///c:/con/con do?

        • > who the @#%$@#% uses LHA these days?!?

          Amiga users. Demos in LHA archives are mostly Amiga binaries, so you couldn't run it anyways...

          > what does file:///c:/con/con do

          That was an old exploit for IE 4 (maybe 5.0?) that caused Windows to lock up completely. Kinda funny to put on your webpage and hide it with a little bit of on mouseover Javascript :)
        • who the @#%$@#% uses LHA these days?

          The LHA file is actually an Amiga demo. It won first place. I wonder if it would work in an Amiga emulator. I also wonder why they combined the PC and Amiga compos. They used to be separate.

  • Future Crew (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jfunk ( 33224 ) <jfunk@roadrunner.nf.net> on Thursday August 09, 2001 @11:05PM (#2170074) Homepage
    I got into the demo scene, like many others, after seeing Second Reality from Future Crew. I immediately went out and bought a GUS. I still have it, I recently plugged it into an Alpha but it doesn't seem to work...

    Imagine my delight when I look under MP3-musiikki and find this [mbnet.fi]. I downloaded it and I'm really impressed. They haven't done a big demo since Second Reality (a couple of mini-demos only) but I am totally happy that Purple Motion is still at it.

    I'm going to have to try some of those demos at work tomorrow where I have access to a Windows box. If only they were all SDL like iXalance [s2.org], which I found about a month ago...
    • Re:Future Crew (Score:2, Informative)

      by kinnunen ( 197981 )
      Different Future Crew member went on to found two companies: Remedy Entertainment which just released Max Payne, and BitBoys, the designers of the infamous Pyramid3D (good chip, just late for market) and Glaze3D (vapor) 3D-cores. While working on Max Payne the Remedy people also released the Final Reality benchmark (which actually has Max Payne ad in it). Although the people were essentially the same, the company that did FR was different, called Future Mark. Future Mark later renamed to Mad Onion, and has since released the 3DMark benchmarking tools.

      What's the point to of all what I'm saying? Well, Mature Furk is of course a simple anagram of Future Mark...

    • ... that Purple Motion plays keyboards in a band, which has released a couple of full length albums? The band's homepage (not sure if it's the official page though) can be found here. [multimania.com]
    • That is how exactly I felt with Second Reality demo when I first got my 486 DX2/66. However, I didn't get a GUS sound card though. I had a SB 16 ISA card. It still sounded great. I even showed this demo to a few geeks and friends at my university. Most of them loved it. :)

    • Re:Future Crew (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09, 2001 @11:33PM (#2170134)
      nothing big?

      how about, oh, say, forming Remedy Entertainment, releasing Final Reality, and writing Max Payne? Surely that's something.
    • I got into it after seeing "Unreal" Second reality was the sequel.

      Back then the 8 bit soundblaster pro was state of the art, as was my 486/33 :)

      • Hey! I dunno about you, but the soundblaster pro in my 486/33 had 16-bit playback buddy, and don't you forget it!
        Woohoo! 16-bit playback, 8-bit recording! rockin! :-D
        • by bored ( 40072 )
          Ah, your wrong! The SB 1.5,2.0 SBpro all had an 8 bit DA. The SB pro had '16 bit' sound from the fm synth. The SB16 was the first sound blaster with card with 2 channels of 16 bit DA.

  • by Cerlyn ( 202990 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @11:12PM (#2170093)

    Module music in the "scene" carries samples of the instruments along with the file. Yet Discover magazine thought an MIT researcher's work in the field was so novel that he was a finalist [discover.com] in their 1997 Discover Awards (see "Bringing Music to the Web"). A project (whos name escapes me) combines audio data with the music to play it, and calls it a new format.

    Anyway, there are plenty of players out there if you want to listen in. For MS Windows users, there's Winamp [winamp.com], although I personally prefer Modplug [modplug.com] over Winamp, hoping that my favorite player of all time, Cubic [cubic.org], will be worked on again and make a comeback.

    Linux users have their choice of a variety of players. XMMS [xmms.org] has a plugin available with the engine from modplug. Several others also exist as well.

    • Oh boy, I loved Cubic. In fact, even when Windows 95 came out, I didnt feel like upgrading, and stayed in dos for the longest time, and had the computer in my room running Cubic playing mods the entire time. Someone port it to linux. It cant be that hard.
    • ModPlug IS better than WinAmp's standard MOD plug-in, but if you download a plug-in called OldSch00l (I believe) WinAMP does every bit as well as ModPlug, and better in some ways. Plus it removes the need to have two seperate players so you can have your favorite mods in your playlist with MP3s.

      You should be able to search for it at WinAMP.com.

      • I'm nearly certain the OldSk00l plugin for Winamp doesn't set the default channel panning correctly.

        It's been several years since I've tracked any MODs, but ISTR channels 1+4 being panned left, and 2+3 panned right. OldSk00l appears to pan 1+2 left and 3+4 right, which is wrong wrong wrong.
    • Players? Players? There's TRACKERS!! Modplug tracker is probably the best Windows old-school type tracker (although some people still swear by Impulse tracker. Also out there is a new school tracker called Buzz - at www.buzzmachines.com. It combines a tracker interface with a wide variety of software synths and effects that can be connected in a modular fashion. Oh, and it's free! To find out what music software is being offered online that's of use to trackers or computer musicians www.maz-sound.com is what I check out to keep up on it. This site also offers a 2 cd set called "Mazzive Injection - tracked work '2k" - it sells for around 35 bucks and has nearly 1100 tracked songs and the software to listen to them. It's well worth the money - my copy's right on my computer desk as I write. Some of this music is equal to the electronic music being released commercially - and some isn't. All the songs are in the original source code format so you can not only hear them, but see how they did it.

      Free open source music is great.
    • For Amiga music, I'd recommend DeliPlayer [deliplayer.com], which plays tons of old Amiga formats (190 according to the home page) very accurately. Newer PC formats (such as Impulse Tracker) are best handled by the ModPlug [modplug.com] player.
    • In my opinion, ModPlug Player sounds better than any of the other players for MOD, S3M, XM, IT, etc. I have a small collection of my favorite tunes [zimage.com] on my personal Web site. :)

    • I really enjoy the music of demos, almost as much as the demos themselves. In fact, I wouldn't mind buying a (Redbook) CD worth of demo-music. [ObInsideJoke: I sure hope you're reading this, Malone!]

      Thanks Cerlyn for posting about the MODs -- I'll definitely have to check out modplug (and fwiw, Cublic still rules, as I know of few other MOD players that actually make use of the SoundBlaster's hardware effects). Assuming that no demo-music CDs are available, are there any MOD archives that I should check out in particular? Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind MP3s/Ogg of demo-music, or even a data-CD full of MODs..
      • FWIW, xmp claims to support hardware reverb and chorus on AWE cards under *nix, using OSS's /dev/sequencer.

        I haven't yet tried that end of it. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to start collecting mods (and relatives) again, and I'm just too thrilled at the way they sound when played with xmp through a good external DAC to bother making an AWE32 work. Last time I heard most of this music, I was using an SB 1.5 on a slow 386SX. The difference is striking.

        OTOH, the AWE32 cards do have an SP/DIF output straight from the Ensoniq DSP... =)

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